As excitement over Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens reaches a fever pitch, opportunities abound for experiencing it, from a chance to see the film at a private screening in Paris before anyone else to luxury escapes to spectacular filming locations. Here are four luxurious trips where the Force is strong.
Shut out of opening night tickets stateside? A special Air France promotion whisks passengers on select flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York on December 15th to a private screening outside Paris of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. Shown on a 60-foot-wide screen using state-of-the-art technology and an immersive Dolby sound system with more than 40 surround sound speakers, this isn’t your average multiplex. Act fast and score one of the airline’s new first class La Premiere suites. Each of the four suites per aircraft enables customers to be totally or partially alone. There’s space to invite a guest to dine on Michelin-starred-chef created cuisine, and when it’s time to sleep, cabin crew will install a mattress and provide a fluffy pillow and a Sofitel My Bed® duvet. Seats are very limited in La Premiere, but there is more availability in Business class— also newly redesigned with fold-flat beds, aisle access for every seat and enhanced privacy. Book your flight, then fill out the online form to ensure your place. Take in the film, do a bit of shopping and get international bragging rights. For details, click here. Bookings must be made by Thursday, December 10th.
Filming of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens has been shrouded in secrecy—rumor is that some locals signed confidentiality clauses– but there is no denying that J.J. Abrams and crew’s arrival on Skellig Michael, off the coast of Ireland, caused quite a stir – as did the reports that the next installment will also film scenes there. The uninhabited island is a natural wonder, noted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its extremely well-preserved seventh-century monastery, as well as abundant bird life. Only 180 visitors are allowed to the uninhabited island daily –weather permitting – and access is only via hour-long boat ride. Explore the island then luxuriate in the charms of County Kerry with a stay at Park Hotel Kenmare. Noted as one of the best hotels in Ireland, it offers golf, spa, and a wide variety of lifestyle classes, all with views of the glistening waters of Kenmare Bay and the Cork and Kerry Mountains. Or try Sheen Falls Lodge, a Relais & Chateau property on the Wild Atlantic Way, between the world-famous Ring of Kerry and the lesser known, but equally spectacular Ring of Beara. Dine at The Moorings on fresh local seafood, enjoy some traditional live music then grab a beer next door at Bridge Bar, where Mark Hamill spent some time pulling pints for locals.
A Long Long Time Ago in A Galaxy Far Far Away…. George Lucas filmed many scenes in Death Valley for the original Star Wars epic released in 1977 (now known as Episode IV – A New Hope) and The Return of the Jedi released in 1983. The desert is pretty much unchanged – and has been the scene for countless movies over the years. While filming, many celebrities make their home base Furnace Creek Resort, just five hours from Hollywood. A particular favorite is its ultra-exclusive Pool Bungalow. Although just steps away from the inn’s spring-fed swimming pool (where the water is always naturally 85 degrees), dry saunas and massage treatment room, the bungalow offers A-list celebrities privacy and a spectacular view of the Death Valley desert. In celebration of the new Star Wars movie, Furnace Creek Resort has created an exclusive map leading guests to easily accessible filming locations. And if you want to explore the universe, this is the place – it’s one of the only gold-tier designatedstyle=”color: #000000;”>style=”background-color: #dddddd;”> International Dark Sky Parks in the United States, where stargazers can actually see the Milky Way with the naked eye.
Despite the crew’s best efforts, word leaked out that the Al Gharbia region of Abu Dhabi played a major role in Star Wars VII, with large sets, faux crash sites and sightings of some stars in the area. Cast yourself in the same location with a visit to the luxurious Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara. From the free-form swimming pool overlooking desert wildlife to the glorious Arabian décor, this resort, in the legendary Rub’Al Khali, the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world, helps guests feel they are on an epic adventure.